|"PREACH THE GOSPEL TO EVERY CREATURE"
1. My friends, the workings of God are beyond human comprehension. God is a God of mystery and wonder, whose ways are past finding out. And there is something that's been on my mind about the workings of God in our midst of late that's captured my interest.
2. Five weeks ago, when Dr. Kenneth Gillming preached for us on the Sunday morning you folks presented me with that delightful PT Cruiser, there was something on my mind that has never been far from my thoughts since then.
3. The night before Dr. Gillming preached he and Dr. Hymers and I were driving around Los Angeles, and we went to the First Chinese Baptist Church, where as a young man Dr. Hymers had observed and the Church had experienced a wonderful visitation from God, growing from barely 150 people to some 3500 in about two years. No program. No plan. Just a visitation from God. The Holy Spirit moved among men.
4. As he was taking us from building to building, and reminiscing about the outpouring of God's Spirit, and the heaven-sent revival, and the phenomenal growth that resulted from thousands coming to Christ in a short period of time, a small Chinese man with a booming baritone voice recognized Dr. Hymers and struck up a conversation with him. His name is Anton Fong.
5. After the greetings and old friends seeing each other stuff had died down a bit I said to him, "So, were you here during the revival?" He indicated to me that he had been at the Church at that time, but that he completely missed the revival. Folks, God visited that Church in an astounding way, but there stood before me a man who had missed God's unusual visitation. Why? He said with regret, "I was a newlywed."
6. Think about it. A man so much as told me five weeks ago that God came in an unusual way, a startling way, a forceful way, a saving way, and he missed it. He missed it! But don't think it's unusual for a man, even a Christian man, to completely miss a visitation from God, because it's not unusual at all.
7. Some few years ago a revival broke out at Dr. Rod Bell's Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia, the Tabernacle Baptist Church. It began when Dr. Hymers preached an evangelistic sermon one Sunday night and the pastor's son, who was the associate pastor and who had been secretly looking at pornography, was gloriously converted. The service lasted until almost midnight, with more than fifty hopeful conversions. One old man was so overwhelmed with conviction that he could no longer walk, but crawled to front of the auditorium so one of the preachers could guide him to Christ.
8. Over the next several months some six hundred adults were converted, began to tithe (which is the Bible term for giving ten percent of your income, something people typically do when they get converted), and became immersed in their Church's ministries.
9. Yet when Winston Song, Dr. Hymers' Chinese translator, visited the Church while on vacation last summer, here is what one of the Church's deacons said when Mr. Song asked him to recount his memories of the memorable revival God had visited their Church with: "It was just a long invitation."
10. Imagine that! A spontaneous outpouring of God's Spirit that resulted in more than fifty saved over a three and a half hour period of time one Sunday evening, with hundreds more converted in the weeks following, and that man said, "It was just a long invitation."
11. Now, lest you imagine such things happening only to the young and greatly distracted, or to the stupid who have no discernment, listen to this: I have told you again and again about the revival in the late 1940s on the Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides Islands of Scotland. But have I ever told you who was there during that revival without experiencing it, and who actually opposed it as just so much enthusiasm? Arthur W. Pink.
12. Yes. World famous preacher, Bible teacher and author, Arthur W. Pink, was there, did not recognize the revival for what it was, opposed it thinking it was just emotionalism, and completely missed it and its significance until he died.
13. "What are you trying to say, preacher?" I'm trying to tell you that unless you are where you are supposed to be, with your attention on what God is working to do in your midst, it is entirely possible that God could do a wonderful thing right next to you, right in your home, or in your Church, something you might spend your lifetime waiting for and never see again, but completely miss it. Though He announced what He was doing on the day of Pentecost, God usually doesn't announce what He is doing, He just does it. So you have to pay attention.
14. I said all that to say this: Folks, it may be that God is doing something in our midst, and I don't want any of you to miss it. I've always been the kind of guy who wanted as many people as possible to enjoy the blessings, and I'm no different now. I think God might be stirring things here and I want you all to be clear on a very important matter, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
15. After His resurrection from the dead, the Lord Jesus Christ commissioned His apostles. He charged them with what has come to be known as the Great Commission, stating it slightly differently on several different occasions. In Mark 16.15 we find the Great Commission stated very concisely: "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
16. Before we advance any farther, there are some basic considerations we need to deal with.
The word "gospel" translates the Greek word "euaggelion," which means "good news." Please turn in your Bible to First Corinthians 15 and we'll see what this "good news" actually is. In verses 1, 2 and the first phrase of verse 3, Paul reminds his readers of both his and their past experiences with the Gospel. Then he actually restates to them the key historical features which comprise the Gospel. Read with me from verse 3: "how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures." That, my friend, is the good news.
1B. First, It's Good News That Christ Died For Our Sins According To The Scriptures
1C. "Christ" meaning "anointed one," the Lord Jesus is the Messiah, the Anointed One of God. He is the One the Old Testament prophecies foretold.
2C. This Messiah, this Christ, actually died for our sins. That is, He was our Substitute, suffering
3C. And what He did He did in fulfillment of predictions made in the Hebrew Scriptures centuries earlier.
2B. Second, It's Good News That Christ Was Buried
1C. What a paradox the Christian faith is, that we should celebrate the agonizing and brutal death of our Lord and our sovereign. But our celebration is not merely that Jesus suffered and bled and died, but that He suffered and bled and died on our behalf.
2C. That He was buried is proof positive that He actually died. Jesus did not faint on the cross, to be revived later. He didn't fake dying on the cross, to sneak away later and live out His life. No. He gave up the ghost on the cross. The blade pierced His side, and the blood and water that poured out attested to His real death on our behalf.
3C. And His burial? It was the witness and attestation of those who crucified Him that He was, indeed, dead. He actually did surrender His life an atonement for our sins, and shed His blood.
3B. Third, It's Good News That Christ Rose Again The Third Day According To The Scriptures
1C. How could He be the resurrection and the life unless He rose from the dead? How could He, as our great high priest, offer His Own blood to cleanse our sins in heaven unless He rose from the dead? I love that song, "Up from the grave He arose . . . ."
2C. My friends, it is both fundamental and fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead bodily. Without the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead there is no Christianity.
3C. That's the description of the Gospel. Now, I must move quickly through my other points.
Though Paul did make passing reference to the power of the Gospel when he told the Corinthians that they stood in the Gospel and that they were saved by the Gospel, his strongest assertion of the power of the Gospel is found in Romans chapter 1. Turn to verse 16 of that chapter, if you will please: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
1B. My Friend, When God's Power Was Brought To Bear To Create The Universe And All That Herein Is, We Are Informed That God But Spoke Creation Into Existence. Imagine That. "And God Said, Let There Be Light: And There Was Light." Worlds Were Framed By The Word Of God, So That Things Which Are Were Not Made Of Things Which Do Appear.
2B. Again, When God Saved Israel From Egyptian Bondage By Plagues, By The Passover Of The Death Angel, By The Parting Of The Red Sea, And By The Pillar Of Smoke By Day And The Pillar Of Fire By Night, He Did So With A Strong Hand And An Stretched Out Arm, Psalm 136.12. What An Astonishing Display Of Power And Might Was Exhibited When God Did Those Things To Redeem His Chosen People.
3B. But, My Friends, The Power Brought To Bear In The Creation Of The Universe And All That Herein Is, And The Power That Was Brought To Bear In Delivering Israel From Egyptian Bondage, Pales In Comparison To The Power Which God Brings To Bear Through The Gospel To Save A Sinner's Soul. Not God's Spoken Word Only, Or His Arm And Hand Only, But The Power Of God!
4B. Not For Creation, Nor For The Exodus, But For The Application Of The Gospel Is The Statement Reserved "the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth."
It's in Galatians chapter one that we see conclusive proof that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is unique, that it is the only means of salvation which God has provided through His Son Jesus Christ. In Galatians 1.6-9 we read Paul's declaration and explanation that there is only one Gospel, and that any distortion or perversion or alteration of the unique Gospel of Jesus Christ is fraudulent: "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."
1B. Want To Know Why I Listen To Sinners After I Preach To Them? Want To Know Why I Work So Hard To Make Myself Available To Them, To Spend Time With Them Whenever They Want And Whenever I Can? It's Because There Is Only One Gospel Which Truly Is Good News. There Is Only One Gospel Which Truly Does Bring To Bear The Saving Power Of God To The Sinner's Soul.
2B. Want To Get Saved By Getting Baptized? Sorry, That's Not The Gospel. Want To Get Saved By Doing Works Of Righteousness? Sorry, That's Not The Gospel. Want To Get Saved By Joining The Church? Sorry, That's Not The Gospel. Want To Get Saved By Believing Things That Are True? Sorry, Not Even That Is The Gospel.
3B. The Gospel Is All About What Was Done For You, Which You Can Only Receive Benefit From By Faith. Not Works. Not Religion. Not Personal Merit. Salvation Is By Grace Through Faith In The Gospel.
1B. Paul Wrote In Romans 1, "I Am Not Ashamed Of The Gospel Of Christ." In Galatians 1 He Was Concerned About Any Attempt To "Pervert The Gospel Of Christ." And In Paul's Description Of The Gospel In First Corinthians 15 The Emphasis Was On What The Lord Jesus Christ Did, How He Was Crucified, How He Died, How He Was Buried, How He Rose From The Dead. My Friends, The Gospel Is The Good News About Jesus Christ!
2B. The Gospel, You See, Is The Good News Of The Saving Work Of Jesus Christ, The Redemptive Work Of Jesus Christ, What Jesus Did To Make Possible The Saving Of Sinners From Their Sins. And He Is At The Center Of It All. If Christ Be Not At The Very Center Of The Gospel Then It's Not The Gospel Anymore And Sinners Are Not Thereby Saved From Their Sins.
2. Second, I tell you of those who missed the blessings of God, Anton Fong, the old deacon, and then Arthur W. Pink, so you will get your head up and your eyes open to the things of God, so you won't make the tragic and foolish mistake of staying home on Sunday nights or on Wednesday nights to make sure the little kiddies get to bed early. How foolish to risk robbing your children of a mother or a father who has experienced the great blessings of God so junior can get his sleep.
3. Finally, I tell you these things so you will be about the Master's business instead of your own business. It's the Master's business that should claim your highest devotion and most diligent efforts. Do the Master's business of preparing the way before Him, of getting folks under the preaching about Him, so that those friends and loved ones of yours can be brought to Him.
4. Now, let us stand as brother Isenberger comes to lead us in a song before this morning's sermon.
1. During His earthly ministry the Lord Jesus Christ brought the Church into existence and then called twelve men to be His apostles. Those men were then trained over a three year period of time that came to a close when Jesus was crucified. With the others who comprised the first Church, following Christ's resurrection the apostles were empowered when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost.
2. At that time they effectively began to do what they had been released to do on a number of previous occasions, "Preach the gospel to every creature."
3. From the time of that great Pentecostal outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the ensuing revival the Gospel has been preached. And as the apostles and other Christians went throughout the world preaching the Gospel they established Churches after the New Testament pattern.
4. This pattern of preaching the Gospel and planting Churches and preaching the Gospel has been repeated down through the centuries until this day. That's how Calvary Road Baptist Church came into being. The Gospel of Jesus Christ was preached and then a Church was established. And the Church that was established became a place where the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached.
5. Allow me, this morning, to answer a very simple but very important question related to preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It's a question that is commonly asked by children about all manner of things. It's a question that is legitimately asked whenever there is an undertaking or an activity. The question is "Why?"
6. This morning I want to answer the question "Why should we, the Calvary Road Baptist Church, preach the Gospel to every creature?" "Why should we?" It's a legitimate question. It ought to be asked and asked frequently. And it deserves a good answer.
7. You might ask us, Why do you preach the Gospel to every creature?
1B. Turn To Matthew 28.18-20, Sometime, To Look At The Great Commission That Matthew Recorded. In That Passage Jesus Said "All Power Is Given Unto Me In Heaven And Earth. Go Ye Therefore . . . ." That Word "Power" Refers To Authority, As Opposed To Might And Strength. To Be Sure, Jesus Is Omnipotent, But This Declaration Is A Declaration Of His Right To Commission, Of His Right To Charge, Of His Right To Command The Allegiance And Obedience Of His Own.
2B. And Since Jesus Christ Is The Head Of The Church, Colossians 1.18, We Acknowledge His Absolute Authority To Direct Our Efforts, Our Energies, Our Activities, As He So Chooses. Can I Get An Amen On That One?
3B. Now, There Are No Longer Any Apostles Of Jesus Christ Living. And Those Apostles Planted Churches To Carry On Their Work And To Discharge Their Duties And Obligations. So We Recognize That The Apostolic Commission Is Our Commission, The Apostolic Duty Is Our Duty, The Apostolic Privilege Is Our Privilege.
4B. "Pastor, That's All Well And Good, But We Haven't Had An Organized Soul Winning And Outreach Program In This Church For Several Years. Why Is That?" Great Question. I Disbanded And Discontinued Our Outreach Programs Because, Just Like Every Other Church I Had Ever Been Exposed To, This Church Had Such A High Percentage Of Unsaved Members That We Needed To Focus On Inreach Before Returning To Outreach.
5B. But I Think We Have Just About Reached The Point Where We Can Turn The Main Thrust Of Our Evangelistic Prayers And Efforts From Inside The Walls To Outside The Walls. We Have Just About Come To The Place Where We Can Contemplate And Pray About And Plan For Every Member Evangelism. Are You Folks Itching For That Just A Bit? Amen?
6B. Make No Mistake About The Great Commission. We've Not Ever Stopped Preaching To Every Creature. But It Was Needful To Preach To Every Creature In Here Until It Was Possible To Preach To Every Creature Out There. The Gospel Of Jesus Christ Is Preached, Then, To Obey Christ.
1B. Turn To Ephesians 3.20-21: "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." I'll Not Explain This Verse In Detail. But Notice "The Power That Worketh In Us," Which Is The Power Of The Gospel That I Referred To In Romans 1.16, Which Results In God Being Glorified In The Church. And That's Not Just Now, But Throughout All Ages, World Without End. When We Preach The Gospel God Is Glorified.
2B. Another Proof Of This Is Found In John 15.8, Where Jesus Indicates That The Father Is Glorified When We Bear Much Fruit. And Then, A Look Through The Acts Of The Apostles Will Show How God Is Glorified When The Gospel Is Preached.
3B. My Friends, There Are Times Of Feast And Times Of Famine. There Are Times When Preaching Is In Season And Times When It's Out Of Season. But No Matter The Season The Gospel Is To Be Preached, To Obey Christ And To Glorify God. If There Were No Other Reasons To Preach The Gospel These Two Are Sufficient To Compel Us. Amen?
1B. We Are Reminded In Ephesians 2.5 That Sinners Like You Are Saved By Grace. But How Is God's Grace To Be Administered To You? How Is God's Grace To Be Provided? How Is It To Be Delivered To You? By What Means Is Grace Transported To You Or Made Available To You?
2B. The Church Of Rome Insists That The Church Of Rome Provides The Means Of Grace, And That Only By The Sacraments Of The Catholic Church Can You Access The Saving Grace Of God. Other Groups, Such As The Mormons, Such As The Jehovah's Witnesses, Such As The Lutherans, Have Their Own Opinions, Which Are Really Only Variations On The Roman Catholic Theme.
3B. But What Does God's Word Say? God's Word Shows Us That Grace Is Ministered By the Spoken Word. Listen To Ephesians 4.29: "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers." Clearly, Then, Grace Is Administered To You By The Spoken Word. God's Saving Grace Is Actually Transmitted To You When I Preach To You The Gospel, If Only You Will Hear And Believe.
4B. And This Understanding Fits Perfectly With Other Scriptures, Such As First Corinthians 1.18: "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." Did You Hear That? The Preaching Is The Power Of God. But Didn't Paul Tell Us In Romans That It Was The Gospel That Was The Power Of God? Yes, He Did. So You See, It's The Gospel Delivered Audibly That God Uses As A Means Of Delivering Grace To You. It's Preaching, Then, That's What's So Important For People, Gospel Preaching.
5B. So, I Preach The Gospel To Minister Grace To You Who Hear. And God's Grace Is Ministered To You, Today, If You Will Receive What Is Delivered To You. But How Can Grace Be Ministered To Those Who Are Not Here? Which Is Why Our Church Must Work To Compel Sinners To Come In And Hear The Gospel Preached.
1B. Here You Are, With Family Problems, With Business Problems, With Marital Problems, With Who Knows What Kinds Of Problems. A Couple Of Days Ago A Bright Young Asian Boy, Getting Ready To Go To College, Committed Suicide By Shooting Himself In Front Of All His Friends. What A Poor Fool, Using Such A Permanent Solution To Solve Such A Temporary Problem. And Now He's Suffering The Torments Of Hell With No One Around To Watch Him. Suffering An Eternity Alone.
2B. So, What Could Have Been Done For That Boy? And What Can Be Done For You, With All Your Problems? You Have Problems In School. You Have Problems At Home. You Have Problems With Your Spouse. You Have Problems With Your Boss. What's To Be Done For You?
3B. You Need Gospel Preaching, My Friend, Like You Need Nothing Else In The World. You See, The Root Of All Your Problems Is Sin. It May Be The Sin Of Lying Or The Sin Of Pride. It Could Be
4B. Counseling Won't Do You Any Good, When The Problem Is That You Are Spiritually Dead. Advice Doesn't Do You Any Good, Because The Problem Is Simply That You Are Lost. What You Need Is The Kind Of Preaching Which Will Hold Up Before You The Savior Of Sinful Men's Souls, The Jesus Who Will Make You Who Are Dead Alive For Evermore. That's Why I Preach The Gospel.
2. Every single time I preach I fulfill three of those reasons, whether or not you listen to what I say and get saved or not.
3. But the only eternal benefit you receive from my preaching, if you are unsaved today, is if you listen to what I say and turn from your sins and come to Christ.
4. It is, after all, the plan that God has devised to communicate the benefit of His Son's saving work to a sinner like you. A preacher preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you respond and come to Christ He saves you.
5. What will your response to this simple Gospel be? Will you respond or will you reject? My prayer is that you will respond. My desire is that you will respond. But whatever you do the responsibility is yours, all yours, only yours.